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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Silva Stormrage View Post
    A question for all of you as I am not well versed enough in these topics to really say. Bludgeoning weapons such as hammers and such are useful against heavy plate armor compared to swords and other slashing weapons. Would such an advantage also hold for creatures with thick hide like Rhinos in real life or similar magical beasts in a fantasy setting? Bludgeoning weapons would probably still be very effective against invertebrates and other magical creatures with giant exoskeletons but I was mostly unsure about thick hide type armor.

    The context for this is I am doing a bit of game design and was wondering from a realism perspective if a weapon with an advantage against armor would also apply to creatures with high natural armor.
    One thing to remember. In the gunpowder era big game hunters shooting dangerous game (Lions, Tigers, Cape Buffalo et al) using high power large caliber guns (such as the nitro express series of cartridges) took heart/lung shots and avoided head shots. Iíve read an account by Jim Corbett where a tiger he hunted recovered from having a 2 inch diameter hole punched out of its cranium.

    Blunt trauma weaponsí easiest kill shot is the brain. Nature has evolved a massively armored box with naturally high levels of sloping to protect the brain. Some animals such as the crocodile are considered to be almost immune from head shots because of the thickness and slope of the armor protecting the brain.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Under what circumstances was a one-handed axe the weapon of choice? Was it a main weapon or a sidearm? What sort of weapons was it well-suited to competing with? Did any period writers discuss the one-handed axe, or its techniques, in any detail?
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Under what circumstances was a one-handed axe the weapon of choice? Was it a main weapon or a sidearm? What sort of weapons was it well-suited to competing with? Did any period writers discuss the one-handed axe, or its techniques, in any detail?
    Best used along with a shield, fighting enemies in mail armour or lighter protection. Hooking is useful vs. enemies with shields. Economy is a factor, in that axe prevalence in Europe dips when swords become cheaper and more common.
    It could be a main weapon or a side arm. There is very little textual evidence for how they were used.

    Edit: Oh, Captain Context to the rescue!
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    Last edited by hymer; 2019-06-28 at 10:38 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Under what circumstances was a one-handed axe the weapon of choice? Was it a main weapon or a sidearm? What sort of weapons was it well-suited to competing with? Did any period writers discuss the one-handed axe, or its techniques, in any detail?
    It was quite often a sidearm of opportunity in a naval context, given axes are useful for cutting lines and clearing broken masts. That's where the Native American tomahawk came from, naval axes traded to the natives.

    It was also prized in the frontier context, since it's shorter and more tool-useful than a sword. In Rogers' Rules of Ranging, he expected every man to have a hatchet:

    1. All Rangers are to be subject to the rules and articles of war; to appear at roll-call every evening, on their own parade, equipped, each with a Firelock, sixty rounds of powder and ball, and a hatchet, at which time an officer from each company is to inspect the same, to see they are in order, so as to be ready on any emergency to march at a minute's warning; and before they are dismissed, the necessary guards are to be draughted, and scouts for the next day appointed.
    Lastly, the Vikings liked an axe.
    Last edited by Kiero; 2019-06-28 at 11:32 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    @KineticDiplomat: I figured 15,000 would be on the high end, but I was aiming for something that made the PMCs a legitimate threat without sliding into the realm of absurdity. The contract the PMCs had previously was definitely not jungle warfare. Rolling hills, rocky coastlines, and minor amounts of urban combat. So I totally agree with you that "what we've got is good enough" would be the mentality for a good while early on. Thanks so much for the help; I really appreciate it.

    @Misery Esquire: The PMCs both have reasonably distinct uniforms, though certainly some of that distinction will be lost in foliage and darkness. At least initially the players aren't affiliated with either side. They're starting the campaign off working for a relief foundation trying to provide medical assistance to the rural civilians caught up in the conflict. So it'd be pretty reasonable that either of the PMCs might mistake them for hostile targets?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
    @Misery Esquire: The PMCs both have reasonably distinct uniforms, though certainly some of that distinction will be lost in foliage and darkness. At least initially the players aren't affiliated with either side. They're starting the campaign off working for a relief foundation trying to provide medical assistance to the rural civilians caught up in the conflict. So it'd be pretty reasonable that either of the PMCs might mistake them for hostile targets?
    Like the Red Cross/Crescent? Generally speaking the giant red symbol and white outfits are a dead give away they aren't the enemy. That's the point of the Red Cross, make it immediately apparent that they aren't there to fight, be highly visible to avoid accidentally drawing fire, and running away when actual fighting starts.

    You might be able to pull off a more UNish type group who wear uniforms and only immediate distinguishing feature might be a helmet that's a distinct colour such a bright orange or yellow. The the thing with aid agencies is they tend to be civilian non-combatants who if needed hire security from the locals (such as PMCs), or rely on something like UN peacekeepers to protect them in potential combat zones.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Oh man, THAT is going to be an eye opener. In the nasty brush war type of thing that's probably happening, food, medical supplies, free mosquito nets - these are all power and currency with the people. And no one wants an uncontrolled source of power running about...I think you're going tot give them a hell of a gam.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
    @KineticDiplomat: I figured 15,000 would be on the high end, but I was aiming for something that made the PMCs a legitimate threat without sliding into the realm of absurdity.
    You're using Bolivia as a model, so we'll look at that for a ballpark. The largest war Bolivia's ever fought (also the largest-scale 20th century South American war) was the Chaco War against Paraguay. This war (fought in the 30s over rumored oil deposits) lasted 33 months, and had around 200,000 men on one side and 150,000 on the other. This means that your suggested PMCs are around 10% of the largest historical armies in the region. A more typical war, the Saltpeter War of 1879-1883, pitted around 37,000 men against 41,000 (late in the war). This means that the PMCs suggested would make up a third to a half of a full-scale army. Or, in other words, in any but the largest conflicts, a 15,000 man PMC would be large enough (especially if well-armed) that "Why don't we just take over the country ourselves?" is a valid question.

    Set the sizes at 2000-4000, and you'll fit the ""dangerous but not overpowering" level much better, with the added benefit that the "lean, mean mercenary machine" notion is less of a stretch.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    You're using Bolivia as a model, so we'll look at that for a ballpark. The largest war Bolivia's ever fought (also the largest-scale 20th century South American war) was the Chaco War against Paraguay. This war (fought in the 30s over rumored oil deposits) lasted 33 months, and had around 200,000 men on one side and 150,000 on the other. This means that your suggested PMCs are around 10% of the largest historical armies in the region. A more typical war, the Saltpeter War of 1879-1883, pitted around 37,000 men against 41,000 (late in the war). This means that the PMCs suggested would make up a third to a half of a full-scale army. Or, in other words, in any but the largest conflicts, a 15,000 man PMC would be large enough (especially if well-armed) that "Why don't we just take over the country ourselves?" is a valid question.

    Set the sizes at 2000-4000, and you'll fit the ""dangerous but not overpowering" level much better, with the added benefit that the "lean, mean mercenary machine" notion is less of a stretch.
    spilt the difference.

    both sides have a "core" of 2000-4000 men, able to go wherever and to what is needed and fully equipped. around these cores their is a loose collection of local tribesmen, foreign guns for hire, host nation "rebels" and such, that technically pushes their numbers in the 10,000 range but for the most part are only nominally under their control, with many of them tied to their home villages or unwilling to engage in offensive action. this helps lead to a stalemate, as both sides can call on much more manpower for defence than attack, making assaults hard.


    it also makes it possible for the PMCs to occasionally hire the PCs for the odd mission
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    First session went off without a hitch. Thanks everyone for the help!

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Beleriphon View Post
    Like the Red Cross/Crescent? Generally speaking the giant red symbol and white outfits are a dead give away they aren't the enemy. That's the point of the Red Cross, make it immediately apparent that they aren't there to fight, be highly visible to avoid accidentally drawing fire, and running away when actual fighting starts.
    It is also a dead give-away that here are people we can rob and kill.

    Sadly when one or both sides are unscrupulous the red cross is more of targeting aid than deterrent.

    A brushwar with PMCs sounds exactly like the place for that to happen. Like not too long ago in Kongo (or whatever it is calling itself this week).
    Last edited by snowblizz; 2019-07-03 at 03:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Most estocs I've seen closely resemble longswords. Why is this? Is the longsword simply the sword with the most anti-armor options in its design? Are there estocs based on other types of sword?

    In addition, is there any merit whatsoever to the notion of a "war rapier?" I've seen the term bandied about, but can't find much of substance related to the idea.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Most estocs I've seen closely resemble longswords. Why is this? Is the longsword simply the sword with the most anti-armor options in its design? Are there estocs based on other types of sword?

    In addition, is there any merit whatsoever to the notion of a "war rapier?" I've seen the term bandied about, but can't find much of substance related to the idea.
    Some soldiers carried rapiers as sidearm into battle, especially if they carried them in civilian life. And there were rapier style hilts put on shorter, broader blades that would have been better cutters and those were certainly used in a military capacity. Sometimes they are referred to as "sword rapiers."

    Swords exist on a continuum. Some are clearly broadswords, and some are clearly rapiers, some are clearly smallswords or sabres, but there are weapons in the middle where they are...something else. The need to categorize them, and the fairly arbitrary nature of the names can lead to a lot of confusion and generalizations.
    Last edited by Mike_G; 2019-07-03 at 11:23 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Most estocs I've seen closely resemble longswords. Why is this? Is the longsword simply the sword with the most anti-armor options in its design? Are there estocs based on other types of sword?.
    Estocs looked like longswords because they evolved from longswords. It was a gradual process, and you got some swords that are estoc-like longswords or longsword-like estocs.

    The Koncerz is a kind of estoc that doesn't look like a longsword.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    In addition, is there any merit whatsoever to the notion of a "war rapier?" I've seen the term bandied about, but can't find much of substance related to the idea.
    There wasn't a "war rapier"... By definition, a rapier is a weapon you carry when dressed in civilian clothes... that's what makes it a rapier...

    It is true that, once armor went out of fashion, people who used them as civilians often carried short rapiers or smallswords to battle (the longer versions of the rapier would be too much of a hindrance in a battlefield) as a sidearm in case they had to defend themselves at close quarters, but these weren't specialized war weapons, they were civilians weapons you were used to and you took with you to battle rather than using a specialized war weapon you weren't used to...

    It is also true that early rapiers weren't so different from contemporary military swords...

    Broadswords, espadas terciadas, hangers, cutlasses, sabres, spadrooms and colimarches were better fits is you looked for a specialized side weapon to use in a battlefield...

    EDIT: And the weapon taken to the battlefield was often called just "sword".
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2019-07-07 at 04:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    I have checked the terminology most commonly used in Spain when rapiers were popular:

    "Espada de marca": A sword with a blade 114 cm long, or a bit longer.

    "Espada terciada": A sword with a blade 80 cm long, or a bit shorter. They were often sturdy, wide weapons.

    "Espada ropera" (rapier): A long blade with a complex guard, fit to be worn while dressed in civilian clothes.

    High command demanded that soldiers use swords with blades under 90 cm long.
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2019-07-05 at 12:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    I have checked the terminology most commonly used in Spain when rapiers were popular:

    "Espada de marca": A sword with a blade 114 cm long, or a bit longer.

    "Espada terciada": A sword with a blade 80 cm long, or a bit shorter. They were often sturdy, wide weapons.

    "Espada ropera" (rapier): A long blade with a complex guard, fit to be worn while dressed in civilian clothes.

    High command demanded that soldiers use swords with blades under 90 cm long.
    Just for a bit of context.
    Most katanas are in the region of 65cm length blades.
    The Nodachi, roughly equivalent to a European great sword, used in combat have blade lengths of 100-110cm. It is important to remember that most nodachi were built as objects to be displayed in temples and relatively few were built as war swords and from what I have seen the longest versions are all ceremonial objects.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    The Koncerz is a kind of estoc that doesn't look like a longsword.
    Huh, interesting. That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Welcome to weapon terminology! Where all the names are made up, contradictory, refer to several different unrelated weapons and never make sense!

    And a couple of rapier related questions. Does anyone know much about the training given to Soldiers using "Rapiers?" I'm thinking particularly of the ones used by Spanish Cavalry and the Swedish Caroleans, with blades the length of the normal thrust focused rapier. I'm imagining very basic cuts and thrusts with a handful of guards, but that's just based on my knowledge of the British methods of training cavalry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzardevil View Post
    Welcome to weapon terminology! Where all the names are made up, contradictory, refer to several different unrelated weapons and never make sense!

    And a couple of rapier related questions. Does anyone know much about the training given to Soldiers using "Rapiers?" I'm thinking particularly of the ones used by Spanish Cavalry and the Swedish Caroleans, with blades the length of the normal thrust focused rapier. I'm imagining very basic cuts and thrusts with a handful of guards, but that's just based on my knowledge of the British methods of training cavalry.
    As I said in my post, a rapier isn't a military weapon, much less a cavalry weapon. A cavalry sword's blade would be more similar to a broadsword, a schiavona or a mortuary sword than to a rapier.

    A rapier-like weapon would be too fragile. Also, a cavalry sword needed to be able to slash infantry soldiers trying to approach and grab the horseman, and to cut the reins of mounted foes. And anyways, you can't use fencing techniques while on a horse, so there is no point in using a rapier...

    The sword was a secondary weapon for the Spanish cavalry and other contemporary armies. The main weapon was the lance or the pistol, the sword being a weapon of last resort if you got surrounded. When fighting infantry they would just hit their heads. When fighting other horsemen, they were told to try to cut the reins and stab the horse in order to make it go mad, rather than aiming for the rider...

    The Swedish cavalry was more offensive. While other other armies used their retiers or pistol armed cavalry to harass the enemy with pistol shot and their lancers to pursuit retreating enemies or to exploit a breaches their lines, the Swedish cavalry charged at the enemy infantry head on, using their swords as lances, extending their arms in front of them.I have heard their swords being called "rapiers" but they weren't... they looked like this:


    A fine sample of early 17th century Swedish military "cut-and-thrust" swords. Note the variety of blade forms

    The Polish cavalry was very aggressive too: They would use long lances (kopia) that would usually break upon impact, and they would then unsheath their korcerz estocs and keep charging. They also used palasz broadswords and szabla sabres as sidearms (and sometimes maces, axes, pistols and carbines too...). Their main tactic was to charge head on and try to break though the whole enemy army, literally cutting it in two.

    I don't think they bothered giving any of these soldiers much fencing instruction. Cavalry soldiers probably were expected to learn it by themselves... they didn't need it to fulfill their role in the battlefield.

    As for infantry, they favored relatively short cut-and-thrust swords (shorter than 90 cm at least, often shorter than 80 cm...), since a longer blade would hinder the soldier (swords were sidearms that spent most of the time hanging from the belt), too slow to draw, and hard to use in close quarters.

    Infantry received a very basic fencing instruction, since most fencing techniques were useless in a packed battlefield... As a matter of fact, some captains may not bother to teach them anything, focusing on training with the musket, arquebuss, halberd and pike...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2019-07-07 at 04:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    I can see why fencing might not be of much use to a cavalryman, but was the an equivalent to singlestick anywhere else in Europe?

    That has lots of techniques applicable to the sabre or broadsword on horseback.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazzardevil View Post

    And a couple of rapier related questions. Does anyone know much about the training given to Soldiers using "Rapiers?" I'm thinking particularly of the ones used by Spanish Cavalry and the Swedish Caroleans, with blades the length of the normal thrust focused rapier. I'm imagining very basic cuts and thrusts with a handful of guards, but that's just based on my knowledge of the British methods of training cavalry.
    The answer to that questions depends on who, when and where.

    Generally speaking in the early modern era (1600+) training was in the hands of the unit commander, and it could vary considerably between units.
    As time progressed training became more standardized. By the Napoleonic era most training regimes were standardized across the army. Although reserve units could have varying levels of training. The unit commanderís focus and dedication also varied with some units being more focused on marching and uniforms and other units spending more time on martial training.
    Officers generally paid for their own sword training and went to fencing schools. Soldiers followed drills published in books with a smaller set of standardized moves.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    I can see why fencing might not be of much use to a cavalryman, but was the an equivalent to singlestick anywhere else in Europe?

    That has lots of techniques applicable to the sabre or broadsword on horseback.
    Anyone? Was this practised in some form outside of England?

    Apparently the French canne de combat is similar (though it didn't appear til the 19th century - singlestick comes from at least the 16th century in England), and the Portuguese/Galician jogo do pau is possibly older than singlestick; were there other analogues all across the Continent?
    Last edited by Kiero; 2019-07-10 at 05:10 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Was there ever a weapon that was used both as an axe and as a dagger / small sword?

    I don't know if this included in the goal of the thread, but what I'm asking for is a weapon that would fit both the Axes and the Light Blades weapon groups in Pathfinder 1.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfuel View Post
    Was there ever a weapon that was used both as an axe and as a dagger / small sword?

    I don't know if this included in the goal of the thread, but what I'm asking for is a weapon that would fit both the Axes and the Light Blades weapon groups in Pathfinder 1.
    A kukri, maybe?
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfuel View Post
    Was there ever a weapon that was used both as an axe and as a dagger / small sword?

    I don't know if this included in the goal of the thread, but what I'm asking for is a weapon that would fit both the Axes and the Light Blades weapon groups in Pathfinder 1.
    Isn't that basically the textbook definition of a machete?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    There are lots of forward-weighted choppers that fall in that same category as the kukri, like the kopis/machaira. That came in longer cavalry variants, and very short infantry ones favoured by the Spartans, for example.
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  27. - Top - End - #177
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Can a bastard/hand & half sword be used with a shield or buckler?

    I admit, I'm never actually sure if I'm using the term "bastard sword" even correctly.

  28. - Top - End - #178
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygnia View Post
    Can a bastard/hand & half sword be used with a shield or buckler?

    I admit, I'm never actually sure if I'm using the term "bastard sword" even correctly.
    Short answer, yes.

    Also note small shields like bucklers can be used with a weapon in that hand, Highland-style (claymore, dirk and targe). No reason you couldn't use that hand to get two hands on a longer hilt.
    Last edited by Kiero; 2019-07-10 at 11:21 AM.
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  29. - Top - End - #179
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    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygnia View Post
    Can a bastard/hand & half sword be used with a shield or buckler?

    I admit, I'm never actually sure if I'm using the term "bastard sword" even correctly.
    As Kiero notes, yes.

    ("Long sword", "bastard sword", "hand-and-a-half sword" all work for the same basic idea of a sword that can be used either with one or two hands, even they're all terms that are more retroactively applied more than period-accurate. "Long sword" to describe a a one-handed sword that's bigger than a gladius is the one that's just flat wrong outside of Gygaxian D&Dism.)
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  30. - Top - End - #180
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXVIII

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygnia View Post
    Can a bastard/hand & half sword be used with a shield or buckler?

    I admit, I'm never actually sure if I'm using the term "bastard sword" even correctly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    As Kiero notes, yes.

    ("Long sword", "bastard sword", "hand-and-a-half sword" all work for the same basic idea of a sword that can be used either with one or two hands, even they're all terms that are more retroactively applied more than period-accurate. "Long sword" to describe a a one-handed sword that's bigger than a gladius is the one that's just flat wrong outside of Gygaxian D&Dism.)
    Truth. It should also be noted that, at least in some versions of D&D, the term buckler is misapplied to something that straps to your forearm but leaves your hand free, whereas historically the term was used for a small shield you held.

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